How to take a resting respiratory rate

Published on: 2nd December 2019

The resting respiratory (breathing) rate of dogs and cats gives us an indication of how well we are controlling signs of heart failure.  We prefer to take breathing rates at rest as this is when our pets are relaxed and makes it easier to compare changes from day to day.

The sleeping respiratory rate should be obtained when your pet is comfortable and resting. Avoid measuring it when they are in the dreaming phase which is often accompanied by movement.

Each breath consists of a cycle with two phases the inspiratory part (breathing in) and the expiratory part (breathing out).  The rate should be counted over 1 minute if possible but 30 seconds may be sufficient in some cases.

 

 

 

Dogs

This video shows the resting respiratory rate of a dog with the counter showing each breath. Watching the videos on full screen makes it easier to see each movement.

 

Video credit: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=8401142

Cats

This video shows the resting respiratory rate of a cat with the counter showing each breath. In cats it is also important to note the amount of effort as some cats can have a normal breathing rate but increased effort.

Watching the video on full screen makes it easier to see each movement.

http://www.sarahsmithcardiology.co.uk/wp-content/media/2019/12/MarchivesSRR.mp4

Video credit: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=8401142

Normal resting breathing rate in dogs and cats is usually 16-24bpm (breaths per minute). Values greater than 30bpm or a change from your pet’s normal pattern suggest you should contact a veterinary surgeon for advice.